Science Questions

Why don't women go bald?

Sun, 21st Oct 2012

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Is there a Googol of anything in the Universe?

Question

Janet France asked:

Hello Naked Scientists, :)

 

I was wondering -

 

If men are hairier than women, why do they lose the hair from their head when women don't ?

 

Regards,

Janet France (Welshpool)

Answer

Ginny - Women can go bald, is the first thing I should say. 

There are various illnesses.  One is called alopecia universalis which is thought to be an autoimmune disease which attacks the hair follicles and can cause you to lose all your hair including eyelashes, eyebrows, everything, and that affects both men and women.  But if weíre talking about male pattern baldness which affects up to 80% of Caucasian men by the time they're 70, so a lot of men.  You're right.  It doesnít affect women quite the same way and this is because itís caused by a male hormone.

Itís highly genetic and can be inherited from either parent, contrary to popular belief.  But itís caused when you have high amounts of dihydrotestosterone which is a derivative of testosterone which as we all know is in much higher concentrations in men than in women.  This causes the hair follicles to atrophy.  They actually shrivel up and the hair produced then becomes progressively smaller and thinner and finer, until itís practically invisible or it may even disappear completely.

Hormones do also play a role in women.  So, sometimes people experience hair loss during pregnancy, menopause, anytime when hormone levels may vary.  But as I said, itís mainly testosterone thatís the culprit, so thatís why it affects men much more that women.

Multimedia

Subscribe Free

Related Content

Comments

Make a comment

WOMEN DO GO BALD ALSO...I AM LOOSING TONS. I ALSO HAVE THREE OTHER LADY AQUAINTANCES AND FRIENDS WHO ARE ALSO PRETTY BALD.. SO IT DOES HAPPEN...
Karen W., Fri, 24th Aug 2012

The common male-pattern baldness is a recessive gene on the X-Chromosome (plus others), so a woman would need to inherit 2 copies of the gene to display the effects. It is also affected by testosterone levels, which are higher in males.

Female baldness occurs, but it has a different pattern:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldness#Genetics evan_au, Sat, 25th Aug 2012

See the whole discussion | Make a comment

Not working please enable javascript
EPSRC
Powered by UKfast
ipDTL
Genetics Society